Krah fends off a Davis, loss-side challenge to win Action Pool Tour

Deska takes over #1 spot in tour rankings

With the top-ranked player on the Action Pool Tour, Brandon Shuff, competing in the First Annual Southern Classic in Tunica, MS on the weekend of July 21-22, a field of 75 showed up for the 11th stop on the Action Pool Tour to see if they could gain some ground. Matt Krah, who entered the tournament at #38 in the rankings, jumped 20 places on the list with his first-place finish, defeating Mike Davis (who jumped 11 places to #4) in the second set of a true double elimination final. The event drew 75 entrants to Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA.

In addition to Krah, three other Action Pool Tour regulars advanced to the winners' side final four, looking to cut into Shuff's lead in the rankings. Krah squared off against Brian Deska, who entered the tournament ranked at #2, and with his advancement to the winners' side final eight, had already passed Shuff. Even if he'd lost among the final eight winners, and subsequently been defeated in the matches that determined the four-way tie for 9th place, Deska would have chalked up 750 points (10 points for the 9-12 finish, times the number of players, 75), which would have moved him ahead of Shuff by 139 points. 

The other winners' side semifinalists were R.J. Carmona, ranked # 11, who'd just sent Davis to the loss side, and Larry Kressel (# 54). Krah sent Deska west 9-7, and Kressel sent Carmona after him 9-6. Krah got into the hot seat with a 9-3 victory over Kressel, and awaited the return of Davis.

On the loss side, Davis began his five-match march back to the finals with a 7-4 victory over Rafael Reyes, and a 7-2 win over Dave Hunt, which set him up to face Deska. Carmona picked up Chip Klein, who defeated Matt Shilinski and Paul Helms, both 7-3. Davis finished Deska's day with a 7-1 victory, and was denied a re-match versus Carmona, when Klein defeated him 7-3. Deska's fifth place finish put him 289 points ahead of Shuff in the rankings. In the quarterfinals that followed, Davis defeated Klein 7-2, and then defeated Kressel in the semifinals 7-4. 

In the opening set of the true double elimination finals (a race to 9), Davis took an early lead and reached the hill first. Though Krah would close the gap to within three, Davis hung on to win, forcing a second set. In that second set (a race to 7), it was Krah with the early lead; out in front by five before Davis had won a rack. Davis got on the board in the sixth rack, but Krah took the seventh rack to reach the hill first. Davis made a run, winning the next three, but Krah closed it out in rack eleven to secure the event title.

With two more stops on the tour - Aug. 11-12 at VIP Billiards in Catonsville, MD, and the season finale, Sept. 8-9 at Big Daddy's Billiards in Glen Burnie, MD - the top four players are within striking distance of each other; Deska on top of the tour, with Brandon Shuff behind him. Tour director Ozzy Reynolds, who finished in the tie for 13th place, remained in third place, while Mike Davis moved into fourth place.